Powys Digital History Project

The Elan Valley dams
A new attraction for visitors


A picture-postcard view
The newly created landscape of man-made lakes in the Elan Valley quickly became a popular destination for visitors, and has remained so ever since. The areas which were cleared of vegetation during the construction of the dams have matured beautifully, and today the area looks wholly natural.

The impressive composite panoramic postcard shown here, hand-coloured and published around 1904, was one of many produced as souvenirs for tourists.

Postcard view of
Careg-ddu dam

County Archives

Panoramic view,c1904
The location of
the Elan Valley dams
and reservoirs
is shown on the
sketch map.   
The picture shows the Caban Coch reservoir, viewed from above the Careg-ddu viaduct, which is also a submerged dam. The viaduct provides road access to the Claerwen valley, the original road having been lost beneath the waters.
The Caban Coch dam is in the distance at the far right, and the replacement church of Nantgwyllt is at bottom left. The submerged country house of Cwm Elan was on the left nearside bank, on the bend in the reservoir beyond the chapel.
Across the water from the chapel is the Foel Tower, built in a style which, like most of the dams, has become known as "Birmingham Baroque". The Foel Tower controls the flow of water to the filter beds, and thence on to Birmingham.
The road on the opposite bank which follows the edge of Careg-ddu reservoir beyond the Foel Tower to the left in this view leads to Pen-y-Gareg dam and then on to the topmost dam of Craig Goch.
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